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Cash-only update: Just in case you forgot…

I am amazed that it’s been more than a year and a half since I got rid of my checking account and moved to the cash-only lifestyle. But I’m still doing it. It is truly amazing and empowering to know that the money you’re spending on goods and services is YOUR money, not credit, not a loan, not poor decisions. I’ve altered my cash-only ways since I started this but for the most part – it’s my money or nothing else.
First of all, I still use a debit card to pay my bills and also to make day-to-day transactions. I have found that if you truly want to live on cash you just might as well stay away from everybody. However, this debit card is not connected to a checking account and is not subject to overdraft fees. When the money is gone, it’s GONE. The end. I haven’t had to pay an NSF fee since 2008 because I use a prepaid debit card.
Also, because I am still drawing on my unemployment insurance, my benefit amount is transferred to a debit card each week. Although I use this card primarily for bills and online purchases, I always make sure to take out a little extra cash whenever I make a debit purchase so I can have some money on the side. Usually I take that cash and put it in a locked safe where I can access it on a rainy day.
Most prepaid debit cards also come with associated routing and checking account numbers. I only use this to make deposits on my card, NOT to make withdrawals or payments.
If you are in a debt management program, a lot of these companies will ask to directly withdraw from your checking account each month. Explain your situation to these companies and see if they will work with you to send money orders each month. Walmart and Moneygram each have very competitive prices for money orders that are still a lot cheaper than ever dealing with NSF fees.
Other than that, I still have a Roth IRA that I try to contribute to once a year and will try to contribute a greater amount to as I get more freelance work or jewelry orders and my income increases. I also have a savings account with an online bank where I will start mailing the checks I receive for my part-time tutoring job.
If you are planning to get a loan for a house, car, etc., you do need to have a savings account – so I’m glad I have one that I just add to when I can. When my savings reaches a certain amount I get CDs that sit in there and earn some extra interest for me.
So there you go, there’s my update. Again I say, if your checking account owns you, and you are constantly worried about NSF fees, get rid of it. It is of no use to you. Get one again when you can learn how to manage your money properly. I spite of all the changes I’ve made, I’m still in the learning process.

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